COLUMN: Help to kick-start careers

editorial image

It is a fact that great things are built on apprenticeships. They bring fantastic opportunities for employers and for people looking to kick-start a career. Those opportunities are about to increase in Chesterfield and it’s a chance local businesses and local people can’t ignore.

I have seen how apprenticeships help to increase productivity, fill skills gaps and inject new ideas into a business at the same time as giving people the skills and experience they need to grow and develop a successful career.

However, research we carried out recently highlighted that misconceptions about apprenticeships could mean some young people aren’t receiving advice about the alternative post-16 education and training options. Almost a third of parents of secondary school age children in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire who we asked said they aren’t aware that apprenticeships are available in their area.

As key influencers in the career choice of their children, I would urge parents to take another look at apprenticeships using resources like www.getingofar.gov.uk/parents and www.learningunlimiteduk.com/parents-guide.

The range and number of apprenticeship opportunities is about to grow locally and nationally. The launch of the Apprenticeship Town initiative in Chesterfield and the introduction of apprenticeship reforms across the UK mean that whether you’re an employer or a potential apprentice, now is a good time to take a closer look at what apprenticeships can offer as well as getting help and advice to find out how they can work for you.

Apprenticeships are available in 1,500 job roles across more than 170 industries from social media marketing to engineering and construction to customer service.

The days of apprenticeships only being an option for the less academically gifted are also long gone. They can now take you further than ever before. Higher apprenticeships can lead to university level qualifications and a wealth of priceless work experience.

The biggest shake up of the apprenticeship programme is happening right now and we need to make sure we make the most of that to give our region the best chance of being ahead of the game when it comes to developing the skills we need.

Whether you are a business, a potential apprentice, a parent or teacher influencing the choices of the next generation, let’s work together to challenge the myths, breakdown the barriers and make sure apprenticeships work for our towns.